View Full Version : Trying to date some old photos
I have a lady who was widowed twice and left with two children. I have the photographs but am having trouble dating them. Any fashion experts out there who can help?
Also, one of the two grooms in his Army uniform. Help with date and regiment would be very much appreciated.
05-12-2008, 11:41 AM
I Love old photographs - aren't you lucky to have these lovely ones!
I would suggest that the women's clothes are 1920s to early 1930s but then again why are the men in uniform!
I look forward to the fashion experts putting me right!
And gosh, what a handsome chap!
05-12-2008, 11:52 AM
Hi Peph and Rubina
I would agree that the second photo looks like the late 20's or very early 30's- the clothes are very similar to pictures of my grandma's wedding in 1931.
I would have put the first picture earlier, possibly the second half of WW1 or shortly after. Skirts did get shorter as a result of the greater freedom women had due to doing war work etc.
I think the badge on your soldiers cap is of the Machine Gun Battalion (WW1)
05-12-2008, 11:53 AM
I agree with Rubina about the 1930's for the second one, the first one could be 1920's, just after the end of WWI. The uniforms, well one is a Scottish regiment and the other appears that he could be an officer. The bottom uniform is different to the top two.
05-12-2008, 12:01 PM
Third piccy is Machine Gun Corps WW1 I think as Sally said.
You guys and gals are all brilliant.
The reason for my confusion is that both the grooms died, according to family legend, and the assumption had always been that they both lost their lives in WWI. Not likely, though, from what you fashionistas are saying.
I've found marriage indexes which suggest that the weddings may have taken place in 1912 and 1922. Possible, do you think? Trouble is, I can't find any reference to the deaths of either of the men - which has made me assume that they died abroad, perhaps in battle.
All I do know for sure is that she married her third husband (not pictured here) in the Spring of 1941.
I LOVE this website!
05-12-2008, 12:29 PM
I love it too!
You know, I think the family legends may be right!
The shoes the bride is wearing in the first photo are quite heavy and staid which would be a hangover from the Edwardian period, although the skirts are shorter and slimmer that previously. This then could well be 1918s onwards (perhaps earlier - the experts will put me right!).
However, the cothes and shoes in the second photo are must flimsier and girly so that would put it early 20s. Don't worry the experts will pick this us soon enough! Just found this - it might help.
Three marriages eh! Some woman! Shame you don't have a photo of the third wedding though!
Picture of the third wedding, Rubina? Oh, but I DO!
Thank you for the fashion history ideas and the link.
05-12-2008, 3:54 PM
I've just come back to the forum, and without cheating by reading ahead (promise) I thought that 1. would be about 1916, 2. late 20s-early 30s. Are those men wearing spats? The ladies have got over bobbing their hair and having cloche hats - I would say 1933.
And yes, he is gorgeous - it's the way his collar is turned up at the back!
05-12-2008, 6:06 PM
By the hats and the length of skirts I would put the first wedding around 1915. The war war digging in by this time and rationing of fabric meant goodbye to full skirts and huge sleeves.
The second picture I would say is around 1920. They haven't yet got the cloche hats which came in around the middle to late 20s but the shape is getting there although they still have brims on them. The clothes are becoming looser and more shapeless and droopy too.
Just my four pennorth
05-12-2008, 6:20 PM
As far as I know, above the ankle dresses came in at the end of WW1. Necklines were V shaped or round and pearls and beads were worn. Women started having their hair bobbed and formal wide brimmed hats were worn with a downward slant on the brim. Flesh coloured silk stockings were very new.
I am sure I read somewhere about the 'puttees'. Some wore them going up and others going down. Was it infantry regiments went up?
Not a lot of help really, but wonderful photographs.
You're all being SO helpful, and I'm encouraged, now, to send off for the 1912 and 1922 marriage certificates.
I'm intrigued by this family (they belong to friends of mine), since they have such an extraordinary photographic history (what I've shared here is only the tip of the iceberg). Their forebears were at the cutting edge of lithographic and photographic technology back in the second half of the 19th Century, and so many of the family photos taken in a studio in Camberwell bear the family name of Hart...which makes me wonder if a member of this Hart family had opened a photographic studio in the area.
I'm sure that SOMEONE on this erudite forum will have some information for me!
Many thanks to you all of you.
05-12-2008, 7:26 PM
Here's my guesses:
Picture 1 During WWI.
Picture 2 c.1919-20 - before the dropped waists came in and before cloches
Picture 3 1943-46
06-12-2008, 1:47 PM
I think the first marriage is about 1915-16. Just prior to the Great War, the "hobble" skirt and the Neo-Regency high waist had gone out, and at the start of the war skirts got a little shorter as women became more active. By the end of 1916, a very military look was fashionable for women (noticeable a bit in the first photo here with the braiding around collars and contrasting pockets), and the "barrel-line" came in, where the skirts flared out more - not a flattering time even for fashion illustrations.
After the War ended, hemlines dropped again, but everything started to go very tubular. I would have put the second photo about 1922-ish, as the hats are exactly like one my grandmother and guests are wearing on a dated wedding one I have. Hems rose from 1924, rose again, then dropped at the back, along with cloche hats breaking out into variations like the "coal-heaver" where the nape of the neck was covered, before things went went romantic and wide-hatty again in the mid-1930s. However, 1930s clothes are very obvious from the diagnonal draping of the fabric caused by the "bias-cut" (cutting th fabric on the cross).
The third wedding photo is tyical of WWII. It may well have been a second marriage, but in any case, lace wedding dresses, although lace was never rationed, was simply hard to get as the lace-making factories which survived were converted to useful wartime efforts such as mosquito-netting. Due to clothes rationing and the edicts of "Mrs Sew-and-Sew", many wartime brides would prefer to have a new more universal outfit which they could use for smart wear afterwards, or even borrowed dresses from a friend. The tilted hats are absolutely typical of the earlier wartime period: although hats were never rationed, they did tend to shrink to smaller brims and crowns later.
Good luck with your certificates. These are lovely photos.
The picture of the single soldier shows a service man who was with the Machine Gun Corps and his photograph was taken after 1917 due to the type of service cap that he is shown wearing as this was first introduced in that year.
It is slightly difficult to identify the regiments shown in the first photograph as I can not make out the detail from the badges etc however at first glance it could be that the officer on the right may have been in a Canadian Regiment as it looks (like I say at first glance) like he is wearing Maple Leaf collar dogs (a better image of his cap and collar badges would be a bonus if possible). If the Sergeant has collar dogs on his service jacket then the photograph would have been taken after 1924. The hemline on the skirts/dresses would at first indicate a 1st ww period time scale as hemlines started to raise off the vamp of the shoe in 1910 and by the mid 1915's early
1916's it had risen to be somewhere betwix knee and ankle (as shown in the photograph) and would stay at this length until the 1920's where they rose towards the knees for a few years only to be lowered again to calf length in 1929 with the introduction of the slinky and sinuous look that would be the mark of the 1930's. I would agree with Penny on the fact that the two "maids of Honour" are dressed in a somewhat militaristic fashion which, as Penny has already said, would be in keeping with the war years and to me they look more nautical with the collar line than army style (if you know what I mean).
06-12-2008, 9:31 PM
The uniform in the 1st picture is from WW1 as in the 20's the collars changed to a fall down type rather than the high neck ones
The 3rd picture is of the heavy machine gun corp, which went on to become the Tank corp in 1916
Hope this helps a little
I'm really impressed by the knowledge you guys and girls have at your disposal, and am so grateful to you all for the help you've given me with these pictures.
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